“Remember When…”: What Makes Us Happy in Life?

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Whenever we hear the opening lyrics of the famous Broadway song “Memory” of “Cats” we would probably feel nostalgic because of the fleeting nature of life. Time flies. Only memories remain in our busy minds:

Memory
All alone in the moonlight
I can smile at the old days
I was beautiful then
I remember
A time I knew what happiness was
Let the memory live again…

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What has passed will never be repeated again. Life and time unfold swiftly. If we just follow the labyrinth and race of daily life and refuse to pause and reflect for a while to know where we are actually leading to in life and why we are doing all the things that we do, we would probably miss the essentials and beauty of life.

The Chinese billionaire and founder of the global retail giant Alibaba, Jack Ma, once said: “Life is so short. Don’t be so serious about work. Enjoy the lives.” Although a very busy man himself, Jack Ma knows that life is more important than work, that “being is more important than doing” in life. Another saying states: “Work, but don’t forget to live!” So if we are so preoccupied with work and worldly affairs and neglect to reflect on our life, we would miss appreciating the beauty and nobility of living!

 

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Ultimately, what would probably linger in our minds during our dying moments are not our achievements, popularity, and recognition but our loving memories of people whom we have touched and loved and significant events that reminded us of the beauty of life.

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What would probably make us smile as we struggle our last breath are the good old days when we felt happy that we shared our life with others and achieved our earthly goals! Like the words of the song “Memory”, we can probably picture ourselves reminiscing the past all alone in the moonlight and re-live the memory and happiness we have felt with others:

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Memory,
All alone in the moonlight,
I can smile at the old days,
Life was beautiful then…
I remember the time I knew what happiness was,
Let the memory live again…

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What brings more happiness to our consciousness during this review of our earthly life is probably not the wealth that we have accumulated nor the fame and status that we have  achieved in life as they are part of our past material life, but the spiritual realities of joy and loving memories we have had with our loved ones, with people we sincerely helped, and with our God.

virtual reality love GIF by jmckeehen

We can then smile that we live our life as we like it to be or frown for not living a “good” life as our God wants it to be. Steve Jobs, the co-founder of Apple, who has achieved the pinnacle of success in the business world allegedly mentioned during his dying moments that what matters most in life is not wealth which can turn a person into a “twisted being” but matters unrelated to wealth and memories precipitated by love:

… In the darkness, I look at the green
lights from the life-supporting
machines and hear the humming
mechanical sounds, I can feel the
breath of god of death drawing
closer…
Now I know, when we have
accumulated sufficient wealth to last
our lifetime, we should pursue other
matters that are unrelated to wealth…

Should be something that is more
important:
Perhaps relationships, perhaps art,
perhaps a dream from younger days.

Non-stop pursuing of wealth will only
turn a person into a twisted being, just
like me.

God gave us the sense to let us feel
the love in everyone’s heart, not the
illusions brought about by wealth.

The wealth I have won in my life I
cannot bring with me. What I can bring
is only the memories precipitated by love.

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Whether these words were indeed uttered by Jobs or not, they nevertheless contain wisdom and insight on the limits of our physicality and material happiness. Indeed, memories precipitated by love can make us smile and happy while we review our life script at the end of our lives: A scholar or scientist who spent hours of research and writing to sincerely help humanity advance in knowledge and solve some of life’s problems and saw people smiling because his/her works and findings cured their disease or helped them see the world closer to the truth; the joy of a mother seeing her baby smiling at  her; the happiness of seeing the glowing face of a dying homeless person who silently say “thank you” in his/her last breath because we have given him/her comfort and care; the consolation of a religious encountering his/her God in prayer; the inner joy a person who stood his/her ground against a tyrant regime for sake of the truth and justice; or the inspiration of the countless unsung heroes who offered their lives for sake of their country, ideology, religion, and social reform. Indeed, what is essential is invisible to the eye. We can sometimes totally influenced by material accumulation. We sometimes take for granted or sideline the spiritual side of life which can provide us lasting happiness and spiritual joy.

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Photo Credit (except the quote from www.kingjamesbiblbeonline.org): Pixabay.com

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7 Top Myths on Love

1. Love is Natural.

i love you GIF by Angry Birds

Love is not natural and biological but socially-learned in society. In the sociology of emotions, sociologists believe that people’s emotions are determined by society and culture. Thus, people’s deep feelings and emotions of love are primarily a product of cultural and social conditioning. In the same manner, people’s romantic feelings and expressions are learned and shaped by the local culture and not solely by biology. In many primitive societies, for instance, where arranged marriages and betrothals are common cultural practice, romantic love between the bride and groom is not a prerequisite for marriage.

2. First Love is the Deepest Love.

in love romance GIF by Kim's Convenience

People tend to over-romanticize first love. They put lots of emotional value to their first kiss, sexual experience, and first love. And while first experiences are important milestones, they generally aren’t the most significant. Most first loves are not serious. Not many people marry their first loves. The deepest hurt people experience are usually with those they seriously consider to live a life-long partnership, probably in marriage. The person who chose to build his/her life with someone for marital commitment is infinitely more important than the first person he/she fell in love with (Harris, nd.).

3. Love Will Make You Feel Complete.

all my love heart GIF by Chibird

This is another myth. Only the person can make his/her life complete and meaningful. You’re the only one who can make yourself feel whole and fulfilled. Your partner can only assist you to achieve your life goals. If you’re waiting around for someone to complete you, you’re wasting your time. It’s not going to happen, and that’s an unfair expectation to put on someone who could otherwise make you very happy (Harris n.d.).

4. Love can Happen at First Sight

valentines day love GIF

“There’s no love at first sight, only lust at first sight. Sure, that lust can turn into love, but most people need time to get to know each other before they can be sure they want to commit (Harris, n.d.).” True love happens only when partners cohabit for a long time in marriage and accept each other’s faults. The first stage of love is infatuation where feelings of attraction are very strong. But these emotions can be fleeting. They can easily vanish when partners discover their real personalities, attitudes, and social background.

5. Love is an irrational emotion that you either are “in” or not “in.”

Not so, according to philosopher Berit Brogaard, author of On Romantic Love: Simple Truths about Complex Emotion. In fact, love admits of degrees: You can love a little, a lot, or not at all. Sometimes your feelings are quite rational; at others, they’re utterly irrational (Perry 2015).

6. You can’t make yourself fall out of love.

colin baker flirt GIF by Doctor Who

But you can. Emotions are subject to a kind of rational control. You can use strategies to help you fall out of a love that’s wrong for you (Perry 2015)

7. Love is unpredictable.

valentines day hello GIF

Don’t believe it, writes Gottman. Many replicable studies have demonstrated that love is quite predictable. In his own lab, he has been able to predict divorce over a six-year period with better than 90% accuracy. Much of that predictability is based on how couples handle conflict, and how many positive vs. negative comments they make to each other (Perry 2015).

GIFs Credit: Giphy.com

 

References

Perry, S. K. (8 Feb 2015). 10 Myths About Love, Exploded: 3 leading researchers on why old beliefs could leave you lonely. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/creating-in-flow/201502/10-myths-about-love-exploded.

Harris, H. (n.d.). 10 Myths About Love You Need To Stop Believing If You Don’t Want To Be Disappointed. Retrieved from https://www.bolde.com/10-myths-love-need-stop-believing/.

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How to Deal with Simple Obsessive Stalking

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Stalking is an indication of an unhealthy love. True love does not pressure the other to reciprocate the attraction and courtship of one’s romantic feelings. People must be aware that stalking can be a manifestation of a social pathology and psychological imbalance of some individuals. Demographically, stalking is a gender-neutral crime, with both male and female perpetrators and victims, but:

  • Most stalkers are men. Best statistics indicate that 75-80% of all stalking cases involve men stalking women.
  • Most stalkers know their victims. 60% are current or former intimate partners.
  • Most tend to fall into the young to middle-aged categories.
  • Most have above-average intelligence.
  • Many stalkers are anti-social, manipulative, deceptive, obsessive-compulsive, and have a history of failed relationships.
  • Stalkers come from every walk of life and every socioeconomic background. Virtually anyone can be a stalker, just as anyone can be a stalking victim [1]

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“Stalkers can be driven by several different reasons, and most have stalked more than one person in their lifetime. Stalkers are obsessed with their victims, and this obsession is expressed in many ways. Some common reasons for this obsession include power, control, and sometimes revenge. Most stalkers don’t take responsibility for their actions and blame others for making them do what they do. Relationship violence perpetrators often stalk their victims during the course of the relationship and especially after the victim leaves the relationships” [2].

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What is Simple Obsession Stalking?

     Simple obsession stalking “represents 70-80 percent (70-80%) of all stalking cases and is distinguished by the fact that some previous personal or romantic relationship existed between the stalker and the victim before the stalking behavior began. Virtually all relationship violence cases involving stalking fall under this rubric, as do casual dating relationships. Simple obsession stalkers exhibit a variety of characteristics, including the desire for extreme control, obsessive behavior, vengeful attitudes, an inability to handle rejection, and an assumption of little or no responsibility for their actions…

kate beckinsale stalker GIF by The Only Living Boy In New York

     Once the victim literally becomes the stalker’s primary source of self-esteem, their greatest fear becomes the loss of this person. Their own self-worth is so closely tied to the victim that when they are deprived of that person, they may feel that their own life is without worth. It is exactly this dynamic that makes simple obsession stalkers so dangerous. In the most acute cases, such stalkers will literally stop at nothing to regain their “lost possession” –their partner– and in so doing, regain their lost self-esteem. Rejection often triggers this type of stalking.  Stalkers are the most dangerous when their victims determine to physically remove themselves from the offender’s presence on a permanent basis by leaving the relationship. Indeed, stalking cases which emerge from relationship /dating violence situations constitute the most common and potentially lethal class of stalking cases’ [3].

How to Deal with the Problem

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If stalker manages to make contact with you, say no clearly while avoiding humiliating him. (Don’t engage in dialogue. Pick a statement and keep repeating it. For instance just say “I’m not interested, there is nothing to discuss.”)

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Also, say no without any qualifiers. Stalkers interpret certain phrases or actions as “maybes” or as signs that they’re getting through to you. Do not say “I’m sorry, I’m not interested.” Never include “I’m sorry.” This is interpreted by stalkers as a sign that you have emotions for them, which they will see as a victory, or as a hope of future change… so they will contact you again later!

stop ignoring me the magicians GIF by SYFY

To clearly establish that any further contacts are unwanted and will be in violation of your consent, tell them no in front of a witness, or as a last resort, send a succinct certified letter (or have your attorney send a letter).

Then:

* Cease all contact. Stalkers thrive on REACTION, ATTENTION, and ACKNOWLEDGEMENT. Don’t give any of this. Do not be available to him in any way. Behave as though he doesn’t exist. If you let him see you reacting to his actions, he will experience it as his personal power. Don’t do anything that suggests to him that he affects your world or that you notice his behavior. If there are certain types of contact or communication that are necessary or unavoidable (such as for divorce preparations), appoint a go-between (preferably a man) to handle all communication instead of you.

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* Notify friends, family, and your boss that this person is violating your right to peace and privacy, and is interfering with your personal freedoms and quality of life. Ask your peers outright if they will help you in the following manner:  Explain that they must NOT dialogue with the person in any way, regardless of any excuses the stalker may give. Then ask them to promise to notify you ASAP any time that they see or have contact with this person.

* Evaluate your mail delivery. If there’s any way for him to access your mail, start having it delivered elsewhere.

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* Collect information about anti-stalking laws in your state.  Figure out what steps you will need to get him arrested on a stalking charge, and follow those steps.  When you have enough documentation you can get a Restraining Order (Personal Protection Order).  These don’t really stop the stalking; their purpose is more so that you can get a good arrest report and court time when they violate the Order…. [4].

GIF Credits: Giphy.com

References

[1] https://safeconnections.org/who-are-stalkers/

[2] http://www.wgac.colostate.edu/types-of-stalkers

[3] Ibid.

[4] http://www.lilaclane.com/relationships/stalking/

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When is the Birth of Romantic Love in Society?

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The idea of romantic love and falling in love before marriage started to become a popular trend and practice in Western industrialized societies only in the late eighteenth century with the rise of modernity in Europe. During the Middle Ages, virtually no one married for love. There was, in fact, a medieval saying that “To love one’s wife with one’s emotion is adultery.” People entered into marriage, during this period, primarily to keep the property in the hands of the family and to raise children to work in the family farm (Giddens and Girffiths, 2006, p.205).

in love romance GIF by Hallmark Channel

The concept of courtly love, a medieval European concept of nobility and chivalrous love, generally secret and between members of the nobility, precipitated the rise of romantic love in the 19th century. “Chevaliers, or knights in the Middle Ages, engaged in what were usually non-physical and non-marital relationships with women of the nobility of whom they served.”

is this really happening in love GIF by Hallmark Channel

The birth of romantic love coincided more or less with the emergence of the novel as a literary form, and the spread of romantic novels. Love stories in romantic novels played a vital role in popularizing the idea of romantic love (Radway in Giddens and Griffiths, p. 205).

The term “romantic love” is said to have been coined only in the 19th century by the literary critic Gaston Paris to denote a particular constellation of attitudes and patterns of behavior that characterized a body of literature arising in Provence in the 12th century (Paris, 1983 cited in Karandashev, 2015, p.4).

central park eric GIF by Hallmark Channel

Romantic love is a deep physical and emotional attraction. It generally involves a mix of emotional and sexual desire: emotional highs, exhilaration, passion, and elation. It is a type of feeling that is passionate, fanciful, expressive, and pleasurable from an emotional attraction towards another person (Karandashev, 2015, p.4).

Lantz (1982) defined romantic love as “a love based on personal-emotional attraction, with a strong erotic component which is often repressed because of moral conflict.” Its main features include idealization of the loved one, the notion of a one and only, and the idea that true love overcomes all obstacles. This is different from conjugal love in marriage which is developed over extended periods of time and is based on feelings of appreciation, loyalty, and admiration, stemming from the sharing of common experiences (Lantz, 1982, p. 349).

happy true love GIF by Fifty Shades

Love in the sense of sexual passion is a common feature of societies. But romantic love is different from sexual love. Romantic love is all about emotional communication and the attractiveness of the other. It carries with it the idea of intimacy because one falls in love specifically with the qualities of the other. It tells a forward-looking story or narrative about the lovers and creates a biography, not just for one person, but for two people (Giddens & Pierson, 1998). Sexual love is temporary and focused on physical attraction and beauty of the partners and not on the quality of the romantic relationship and personal traits and personalities of the lovers.

GIF Credits: Giphy.com

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7 Top Myths on Love

1. Love is Natural.

i love you GIF by Angry Birds

Love is not natural and biological but socially-learned in society. In the sociology of emotions, sociologists believe that people’s emotions are determined by society and culture. Thus, people’s deep feelings and emotions of love are primarily a product of cultural and social conditioning. In the same manner, people’s romantic feelings and expressions are learned and shaped by the local culture and not solely by biology. In many primitive societies, for instance, where arranged marriages and betrothals are common cultural practice, romantic love between the bride and groom is not a prerequisite for marriage.

2. First Love is the Deepest Love.

in love romance GIF by Kim's Convenience

People tend to over-romanticize first love. They put lots of emotional value to their first kiss, sexual experience, and first love. And while first experiences are important milestones, they generally aren’t the most significant. Most first loves are not serious. Not many people marry their first loves. The deepest hurt people experience are usually with those they seriously consider to live a life-long partnership, probably in marriage. The person who chose to build his/her life with someone for marital commitment is infinitely more important than the first person he/she fell in love with (Harris, nd.).

3. Love Will Make You Feel Complete.

all my love heart GIF by Chibird

This is another myth. Only the person can make his/her life complete and meaningful. You’re the only one who can make yourself feel whole and fulfilled. Your partner can only assist you to achieve your life goals. If you’re waiting around for someone to complete you, you’re wasting your time. It’s not going to happen, and that’s an unfair expectation to put on someone who could otherwise make you very happy (Harris n.d.).

4. Love can Happen at First Sight

valentines day love GIF

“There’s no love at first sight, only lust at first sight. Sure, that lust can turn into love, but most people need time to get to know each other before they can be sure they want to commit (Harris, n.d.).” True love happens only when partners cohabit for a long time in marriage and accept each other’s faults. The first stage of love is infatuation where feelings of attraction are very strong. But these emotions can be fleeting. They can easily vanish when partners discover their real personalities, attitudes, and social background.

5. Love is an irrational emotion that you either are “in” or not “in.”

Not so, according to philosopher Berit Brogaard, author of On Romantic Love: Simple Truths about Complex Emotion. In fact, love admits of degrees: You can love a little, a lot, or not at all. Sometimes your feelings are quite rational; at others, they’re utterly irrational (Perry 2015).

6. You can’t make yourself fall out of love.

colin baker flirt GIF by Doctor Who

But you can. Emotions are subject to a kind of rational control. You can use strategies to help you fall out of a love that’s wrong for you (Perry 2015)

7. Love is unpredictable.

valentines day hello GIF

Don’t believe it, writes Gottman. Many replicable studies have demonstrated that love is quite predictable. In his own lab, he has been able to predict divorce over a six-year period with better than 90% accuracy. Much of that predictability is based on how couples handle conflict, and how many positive vs. negative comments they make to each other (Perry 2015).

GIFs Credit: Giphy.com

 

References

Perry, S. K. (8 Feb 2015). 10 Myths About Love, Exploded: 3 leading researchers on why old beliefs could leave you lonely. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/creating-in-flow/201502/10-myths-about-love-exploded.

Harris, H. (n.d.). 10 Myths About Love You Need To Stop Believing If You Don’t Want To Be Disappointed. Retrieved from https://www.bolde.com/10-myths-love-need-stop-believing/.

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